The starting point for Mrs. Hughes’ vital work has to be an understanding that not all Muslims are adherents to this virulently intolerant ideology. Strategies for defeating the latter must, of necessity, involve reaching out to those Muslims who genuinely reject the Islamists and their goal – the violent imposition of a world-wide “caliphate” subject to a Taliban-like religious code, Shari’a.
In the wake of July’s London transport bombings by home-grown British Islamists, the dangers of mistaking one type of Muslim community for another have become obvious. Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government has gone from ignoring Islamofascists in its midst – if not actually accommodating their efforts to proselytize and recruit in Britain – to cracking down forcefully on their activities and presence in the United Kingdom.
Unfortunately, in the past – and most especially after the 9/11 attacks, the Bush Administration’s efforts to engage in such outreach have been characterized by a similar unfamiliarity with the distinctions between Muslim organizations that profess hostility to Islamofascists and their causes, and those that actually reject the terrorism and ideology of groups like al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.
For example, the Administration initially embraced Abdurahman Alamoudi and his American Muslim Council (AMC) as go-to intermediaries for their outreach to the Islamic community in this country. Numerous officials met with Alamoudi and his subordinates and the Bush team continued the practice begun during the Clinton presidency of having AMC-affiliated organizations select, train and certify chaplains for the U.S. military. When FBI Director Robert Mueller was criticized for attending the American Muslim Council’s annual convention a few years back, his spokesman insisted this was appropriate since the AMC was “the most mainstream Muslim organization in America.”
Mr. Alamoudi is currently serving a 23-year sentence in federal prison, having pled guilty to charges of trying to kill the then-Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia on behalf of terrorist-sponsor Moammar Gaddafi, the dictator of Libya. The U.S. government has subsequently identified him as a financier for al Qaeda.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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